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How Artificial Intelligence Can Drive Construction Safety

Josh Kanner
Founder and CEO, Smartvid.io

Safety is one project risk factor that every construction firm puts at the top of the priority list.

This belief drives Safety Week, celebrated each year by more than 70 national and global construction firms. This year, from May 6-10, those participating in Safety Week will advocate for safer practices industrywide.

Safety Week’s mission is to “strengthen our industry’s safety culture and performance by sharing best practices, tools, and resources.”

What new best practices and tools are emerging in construction? Many companies are leveraging groundbreaking technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to increase safety.

As AI evolves, so do its abilities to improve safety standards while predicting incidents before they happen. Below are three growing AI trends that will help set the stage for safer job sites.

1. AI analyzes more data than humans could ever review

Humans can only look at so much data before growing tired.  

An AI platform never tires. 

These platforms can review tens of thousands of images and project data points daily and identify risk factors - observations that would never have been found otherwise.

AI and machine learning can provide insights into risk indicators at a scale that humans can never achieve. This means more signal of risk, and, when analyzed properly, better identification of risk.

A recent case study from Shawmut Design & Construction shows how new dashboards can be created to prioritize projects ranked by risk factors discovered by AI.

2. Specialized AI solutions will prevail

Consumer-based AI is trained on consumer data. AI for construction is trained on construction images and data (think, workers in front of metal framing).  

What are the results of this specified training? Construction-trained AI solutions outperform consumer solutions. Although tech industry giants like Google and Facebook have the resources to apply AI at a wide breadth and scale, they cannot match the performance of industry-tuned AI.  

3. AI will become more predictive

Today, much of AI is used to describe what is happening now.

For example, AI helps find indicators of safety risk in current photos by looking for things like workers at height or slip, trip, and fall hazards.

However, as more data is analyzed, AI’s focus will shift from automatically observing what is happening now, to predicting what will happen in the future.

This trend towards predictive AI is already happening in other industries, and MIT Technology Review found that predictive AI is approaching AEC now.

Safety Week shines a light on important values that are critical to the construction industry throughout the year. Smart companies will leverage AI insights to create safer, better work environments for everyone as AI becomes more advanced, and new levels of detail emerge.

It’s not enough for construction managers to tell workers a jobsite is risky; they’re expected to share whether that risk comes from weather conditions, equipment hazards, or other factors. With AI on their side, managers can be more specific in their assessments, help increase workers' safety, and recognize dormant risk factors before they become dangerous.

Explore innovation in action at the Oracle Construction and Engineering Innovation Lab, a simulated worksite with integrated technologies, including Smartvid.io, a company reducing jobsite risk with the power of AI.

Discover how Oracle Construction and Engineering can help you power project success today and tomorrow.

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